Purse Seining. The Scottish pelagic fleet has a small number of vessels who use this method for pelagic fishing of herring and mackerel. Most vessels in the Scottish fleet are capable of fishing the purse seine with some simple rigging changes/modifications from their trawl set up. Most Scottish pelagic vessels prefer to use mid water trawling methods as a quicker way of securing the catch.

The purse seine is used to capture pelagic shoals near the surface by surrounding them with a deep curtain of netting which is supported at the surface by floats. Weights on the underside of the curtain ensure that the leadline quickly sinks and the net is then pursed under the shoal by heaving on a wire or purseline (a) which runs through steel rings attached to the lower edge of the net. It is important to avoid bottom contact as the net is easily damaged.

When the gear is closed and fish can no longer escape, the netting is hauled lengthwise using a power block until the fish are packed tightly in the last remaining section of the net (the bunt). The fish are then pumped aboard the vessel. A purse seine can be as long as 1 kilometre.


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